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Would you value a week away with your team?

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24 March, 2014

As we know nursing is a 24-hour job. Patients that need care require  it just as much at two o’clock in the morning as they do at three in the afternoon. And they need it as much at weekends as they do during the week.

The requirements for the nursing profession to deliver are relentless with increasing numbers of older and frailer patients with many comorbidities. Healthcare is becoming more and more complex as is the technology required to deliver it.

It is the relentlessness that makes it difficult for nurses to be able to take time out for training. Possible as individuals. As teams, well near impossible. Well one hospital has solved this conundrum in a very innovative way. 

Barts Health has invested in a project which allowed teams from 14 older people’s ward to each take a week away. One after the other the ward teams spent a week together looking at how they could improve their care and their communication with each other. Each team returned to work with a supported action plan.

So what happened to the patients? For a six- month period the trust employed a shadow team to replace the ward team that was away. The shadow team included a matron and qualified staff – many of whom have now taken jobs on the same wards at the end of the project.

Most ward teams can only dream of spending a lunchtime meeting together. This was an amazing opportunity for these teams – let’s hope it can be replicated elsewhere.​

Readers' comments (5)

  • I could think of nothing worse than having to spend a whole week in the company of the shower I work with. Here's a thought: use the money that would be wasted on this team building gash and use it to pay for an extra nurse.

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  • eileen shepherd

    When I was a ward sister I had time out days . They made a big difference to the team and helped us set priorities. The challenge was to keep the energy going when we returned to the ward. I can't image what it must be like to get a team away for a week. It will be interesting to see the results to this innovation.

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  • tinkerbell

    Hope it's not compulsory!

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  • All of our senior nurses, Band 8 Matrons, had an extremely busy busmans holiday last June and July when they spent 8 weeks conducting interviews with Nurses in Portugal and Spain to fill the specialist posts that my trust spent hundreds of thousands of pounds on redundancies the year before. Where were these interviews? Madrid? Lisbon? No, the Algarve and the Costa Brava.
    I asked one Matron why they recruited from these countries, and she said that it was because these Nurses were on zero hour contracts in their respective countries! I then asked why they didn't recruit Nurses from Ireland, after all they speak English from birth, and speak English at work, and how I with my schoolboy Spanish would never get a job in a Spanish hospital because I couldn't speak the lingo. She replied, and this is no joke, that they could tell that most of them LOOKED like they understood the questions asked them! Que?

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  • tinkerbell

    perhaps those recruiting were using a babelfish app.

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